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Why no FlashBuilder iOS tutorials ???

I know a lot of you have been waiting for tutorials on building native iOS apps using FlashBuilder 4.5.  Why aren't they online yet? Well, lemme tell you why...

I have had a real love/hate relationship with Adobe the last half of 2011.  In my opinion, Adobe has completely shot themselves in the foot with their Flash (and Flex) platform.

Mobiles will eventually take over desktop PCs.  Its a trend, and will eventually happen.  Then isn't NOW!  Everybody who knows RIA technologies KNOWS that HTML 5 is not ready for prime time, and that when it does finally start to get pervasive on the desktop, it STILL won't have the same capability as Adobe AIR combined with Flash.  Microsoft couldn't unseat Flash with Silverlight, and while it wasn't directly a competitor to Flash, Google dumped their 'Gears' project (which was more like Adobe AIR).  Flash and Adobe AIR still have the most powerful and stable RIA technology available today for desktop and browser based RIAs.  Why does it have such a horrible reputation then?

In my opinion, here are the key issues -- can Adobe fix them?

1. Marketing of Flash in the last 3+ years

Adobe KNEW that the world was trying to bring down Flash.  Steve Jobs was doing his best by saying Flash was never coming to iOS devices, and said it was because Flash was buggy and a resource hog.

The logical course of action, of course, would be for Adobe to refute these claims and pour $$$ into making their case that Flash is still relevant.  While some key people made their arguments, Adobe largely just stayed passive, and this has ultimately sent the wrong message.

Even late in 2011, when Adobe decided to stop making Flash for MOBILE devices, they weren't clear enough that it was only MOBILE getting the AXE, and it caused mass hysteria amonst developers.  Those who made their career on Adobe Flash development woke up to a flurry of "Steve Jobs was right about Flash" messages.  Talk about an identity crusher...  Adobe's marketing people are completely to blame for their target demographic now feeling "guilty or shameful" for having invested in Adobe technologies.  Obviously we know that we shouldn't feel this way because the technology is good, but Adobe is sure doing a good job of making US look bad (and themselves too).

What amazes me is that when I recently got a new Kindle Fire tablet, I immediately opened up a few sites I have done in Flash.  They worked GREAT!  Fast, smooth, no issues whatsoever.  Why did Flash mobile need to go?  Your guess is as good as mine.  I was so excited that I finally had a mobile flash solution, and then a week later, the bomb fell.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADOBE TO FIX:  VERY DIFFICULT TO IMPOSSIBLE

2. Clear communication about the development roadmap

So Adobe have decided to dump flash mobile. They have given Flex to the open source community.  There are SOME answers, but still many more QUESTIONS about what Adobe is doing with Flash and more importantly, WHEN they are doing it.  Are they going to keep updating Flash player if the open source community continues to improve Flex ?  Who knows.

They have stated that they believe HTML 5 is the future of web apps, but their statement feels more like they are "caving in to peer pressure" than innovating and making the future better.  If HTML 5 itself is "all that," then your developers don't need you any more Adobe!

 POSSIBILITY FOR ADOBE TO FIX:  VERY DIFFICULT BUT POSSIBLE IF THEY TRY HARD ASAP

3. Give direction to the Adobe-friendly development community

So what do we do now?  The biggest void that exists right now is that of direction:

- Adobe have (in not so many words) said that they will eventually dump (aka 'kill off') Flash.  ("supporting" flash means no more investment in innovation)
- They have said that eventually HTML 5 is going to be "all that"

but they HAVE NOT said anything about what the Flash and Flex developers should do NOW.  Its a new year in a few days, and customers will have new projects.  Should they be started with Flash/Flex ?  Who knows?  Should they be started with something else?  Well, what else has even CLOSE to the same capability as Adobe AIR ?  Nothing. 

So we are left in limbo.  Thats a bad place for customers to feel.  This void will cause a mass exodus to competitive technologies, with feelings of abandonment.  While I don't rely entirely on Flash and Flex for my career, they certainly are a part of our technology portfolio.  Should I feel bad about that?  12 months ago, nope.  Today? hmm...

POSSIBILITY FOR ADOBE TO FIX:  VERY GOOD IF THEY RESPOND ASAP

So, to wrap this all up.  Why aren't there tutorials posted with FlashBuilder 4.5 for iOS ?  Because I am unsure whether the investment is worth it.  I don't know whether Adobe will drop FlashBuilder next month.  I don't know if there is a better direction.  I don't even know the future of Adobe AIR at this point.  I only have a few pieces of a complex puzzle, and Adobe can't tell me what the puzzle looks like when its build, and may have even have lost a few of the pieces too.  I would love CLEAR and AUTHORITATIVE answers from Adobe.

For some good reading, take a look at http://isflashdeadyet.com/, Adobe to Developers: Your Questions About Flex, and The Future of the Flex Framework in Enterprise IT. Be sure to read the comments as well!

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